Walshie says... Jon McLaughlin!
For all the magic moments served up from the left boot of Aiden McGeady, Sunderland would be nowhere near the top of the table had it not been for Jon McLaughlin.
After spending 12 months despairing at weekly goalkeeping mistakes from messrs Steele, Camp and Ruiter, the Scotsman has brought a calm to a backline that has needed guidance throughout the season.
He became the first home goalkeeper to save a penalty at the Stadium of Light when he denied Fleetwood’s Paddy Madden and he has routinely bailed Sunderland out of tricky situations. He has consistently produced assured performances and delivered huge saves at pivotal moments such as saving a penalty at Bradford, snuffing out almost constant 1-on-1 chances at Doncaster and frustrating Portsmouth in the play-offs.
Throughout this campaign he has been the voice of calm, the ultimate professional and it is telling that had he been a Sunderland player in the Championship, the prospect of relegation would have been non-existent.
Even when he has made a mistake, he just pretends the ball didn’t cross the line. That is elite behaviour from an elite man.
Gav says... Aiden McGeady!
I think it’s tough choosing between Jon McLaughlin and Aiden McGeady but I have to go with the latter, as his performances across the season were more often than not the difference between us losing a game or winning a game.
It’s often forgotten that McGeady actually missed all of pre-season and a significant portion of the start of the campaign, which meant that he was playing catch up for long periods, yet he still turned out impressive performances upon his return.
McGeady is the sort of player you’d pay the price of a ticket to go and watch when he’s in full flow, particularly at this level. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that a defender has managed to get the better of him in a one-on-one situation and his end product has been consistent, scoring a whole host of goals and stepping up on that front when Josh Maja had left the club and the strikers weren’t really producing the goods.
We’ll be very lucky to keep hold of him, but if we do we’ll have an outstanding chance of winning the league next season. In McGeady we have a player whose individual ability outshines any other player at this level, and that’s why he’s my Player of the Season.
Graham says... Aiden McGeady!
Although he looked rusty and unfit in the Play-off final, without the little Irish wizard we’d probably have been nowhere near the Wembley showpiece.
There’s not been many stand out performers and it’s very much felt like we win or lose as a team this season, but Aiden McGeady has been our match-winner far to often to choose anybody else.
Big shout out to Jon McLaughlin though, who’s been outstanding too.
Jack Ford says... Josh Maja!
This might be an unpopular decision, but for me the choice is clear. Josh Maja managed to start the season an untested teenager we saw as back-up at best, and ended it our top scorer by three goals - despite leaving in January.
Although Aiden McGeady’s talent is unrivaled in our team and the division, Maja managed to get 3 more goals and only 3 less assists, despite playing around 1000 minutes less than McGeady in the league.
He may have left in a manner that left many fans unhappy, but his commitment and output were clear from the start.
For me, losing Maja may well have cost us promotion.
He fitted into the team far better than his replacements, and his departure coincided with our drop in form and descent to proper dire third-tier hoofball.